What is Copyright Infringement in India?

  • August 31, 2022
  • Dushyant Sharma
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Copyright is granted in respect of original work of authorship like literature, art, music, drama, and other kinds of intellectual property work. With copyright registration in India come the exclusive rights of reproducing, distributing, displaying, making derivatives or performing the protected work for the owner.  When any person exercises any of the rights without the authorization of the owner it amounts to copyright infringement. With this blog, we will take a comprehensive understanding of the term copyright infringement.

What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement is the situation wherein the exclusive rights of the holder are violated by any third person without his permission. Infringement occurs even when the whole work is not copied exactly but the work created is “substantially similar” to the copyrighted work. Copyright infringement is said to occur when any of the following things are done by any third part in respect of protected work-

  • The copies of copyright work are developed with the purpose of selling, hiring or letting them further for hire.
  • The unauthorized distribution of protected work.
  • Performing of copyright work at any place without the authorization from the owner.
  • Presenting the protecting works in an exhibition.
  • Importing copyright infringing works into India.

Types of copyright infringement:

There are mainly two types of copyright infringement the primary and secondary infringement. Let us understand both of them completely.

  1. Primary infringement- For this kind of infringement to occur there should be the direct relationship between the infringement made by a person/organization with the exclusive right of the owner. For this infringement to occur it is important to verify that the defendant himself, and without permission, reproduced/performed/displayed, etc., the copyright holder’s work.   It is the responsibility of the holder to prove that the infringer holds access to plaintiff’s work. Also, he must prove that there is a similarity between the works is such as to sustain a conclusion that the defendant actually infringed.
  2. Secondary Infringement- This is the second type of infringement in which the person/organization facilitates another person or group of people to infringe upon copyright.  For this infringement to occur the infringer shall be found liable for contributory infringement i.e. the accused person/organization shall have directly induced infringement by others, or provide the means to infringe with the knowledge of infringement.

Remedies for copyright infringement:

The willful copyright infringement is considered as a serious offence due to which the owner is given the right to take legal action against any person or entity that infringes on the copyright of a work. The owner is empowered to claim for the civil remedies and attain them by way of injunctions, damages and accounts. There are two kinds of remedies available in case of trademark infringement-

  1. Criminal Prosecution- In the case of willful infringement of any work the minimum penalties under criminal laws will be the imprisonment for six months with the minimum fine of Rs. 50,000/-. Further, if the infringer is held responsible for second and subsequent conviction the minimum punishment will extend to 1-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,00,000/-.
  2. Cognizable offence- The offences for which the police officer has the authority to arrest the offender or conduct the investigation without the permission of the court are termed as a cognizable offence. As far as copyright infringement is considered it is also a cognizable offence. Thus, any police officer, not below the rank of a sub-inspector can take action and seize without a warrant, all copies of the work to be produced before a magistrate.


In order to avail the benefits in case of copyright infringement, it is of utmost importance for the owner to obtain copyright registration. Now if you are planning to obtain copyright required you might find the documents required for copyright registration useful.  So go ahead and take your first step today.

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Dushyant Sharma
Author: Dushyant Sharma

Hey there, I'm Dushyant Sharma. With the extensive knowledge I've gained in past 8 years, I have been creating content on various subjects such as banking, insurance, telecom, and all the important registration and licensing processes for various companies. I'm here to help everyone with my expertise in these areas through my articles.

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